Freedom of speech //Does it apply to privately owned social media?//

in steemit •  2 months ago

Well, we have heard it a 100 times and another 100 times more. "F" Facebook, "F" twitter, Instagram etc...
But why?
Well for all the times we have heard about this there are just as many reasons to dislike those companies.
Right now, im not going to go into the practices of any specific company, but rather look at only a single one of my grievances. Just the one thing.

I want to look at "freedom of speech" and how it might apply to large social media companies.

Lately we have been hearing a lot of crap from youtubers getting their videos de-monetized, indirectly censored by the youtube algorithm, banned from the site for saying stuff the company deems as "unwanted"...
Facebook doing the same thing. Shutting down pages that would post something that would offend someone. Things they deem to be in "bad taste".

I need to say that i am fully in favor of private companies doing what ever the hell they want with their policies as long as they arent in conflict with the law of the country they operate in. You know the age old, "if you dont like it, dont use it".
But! And this is a big but.... What happens when you have a clear cut monopoly?
What happens when you have an absolute power over the expression of not a society, but over almost all societies?
When you are literally the guy that can yell in a full auditorium on the front stage: "SHUT YOUR TRAPS!!!!" and everyone goes silent, not out of shock..... but rather because that auditorium is hosted on top of an oil rig in the middle of shark invested waters and you have nowhere else to go. (this is somehow an analogy for not having other options. I dunno. )

But no..... What i wanted to say is that social media, and expression of thought and idea has been privatized. Rather then the state policing what you can say and do, and i can speak from experience because i was born just before Croatia war for independence in the 90s, and i know how a communist state worked.
You would say something against the government and you'd go to "Goli otok". (Goli means naked/barren because its all rock)...

I know it looks beautiful from pics, but you wouldnt want to be a prisoner there

What we have now is privatized free speech. We are at a point where you cannot get your voice heard without someone policing what you can say in the modern world. We have become so technologically advanced and reliant on modern technology that without adopting of said technology you are in turn marginalizing yourself.
So the proposition the companies are making indirectly is:

Either comply to our rules and regulations or destroy the only effective way to spread your ideas.

We replaced the "thought and word police" of the communists and repressive governments of old, with the thought and word police of private enterprises effected by values and political agenda that is predominant in the business sector they operate in.
Facebook goes beyond anything a single nation can do in terms of opinion suppression, not even what a whole continent of nations can do. But they can.
And thats a huge problem.

Western nations have a very unified policy on free speech, basically, and im simplifying here, it should be allowed, unless its hate speech calling for violence. ( and even if it is clear, the state still violates those rights from time to time) But private companies do not have to comply with those laws, they are free to set their own terms and policies.

When you have more power over individual expression then the nations of the world, you are put into the position where you can affect general opinion to an alarming degree.

Truly, im in the camp that feels that companies like Facebook should be held accountable in relations to free speech suppression regardless of their position of being a privately owned company.
When you take a monopolistic position like they have, you are no longer in the sphere of offering a "service" in the private sector. You are essentially monopolizing free speech on a global basis.

In that regard i feel companies like facebook should no longer be seen as private companies offering a service but rather a private company providing an essential human right that cannot be attained to any significant level in any other way but through using their service. Thus, should base their terms and policies on some form of widely accepted rules and rights, like lets say.... UDHR.

These companies ban accounts that write things that might offend someone, jokes that may offend someone, "controversial individuals", etc. And i think that is wrong regardless of me agreeing or disagreeing with those people.
Once you monopolize free speech due to expanding technology, you have a responsibility to those people that use your service and live by the laws of modern society.

Anyways, im rambling on. The moral of the story is:

"F" old social media, you should never centralize free speech and put it into the hands of a private company. Decentralization is the way and letting the community decide what should or should not be allowed. Because people have brains, they arent mindless zombies, they have the capability to decide for themselves what is ok and what is not.
We dont need 50 people from Facebook core moderating team to decide what we should hear or see when they refuse to accept even the basic principles and rights set by society, how ever flawed that might be......

But even if they adjust their policies in relation to some universally accepted human rights, that still is a far inferior option! Human society has fluid values and it alone should be left to decide what is accepted and what is not.

We can decide on our own. And Steem is offering that for the first time ever. An individual controls over what he wants to see and what he does not, what deserves to be seen and what does not based on their own personal values. In the end we all for our self, but as a group online, when all those opinions add up decide what has merit and what is unwanted..

Steem isnt just 0,65$, 1,1$, 7,5$... Steem is freedom of expression and if you havent caught up with that idea yet, hopefully, you will.

A bit more opinionated stuff. Some people might disagree, but wanted to share my thoughts on the topic.

Stay calm, Hodl them Steem and use more olive oil, i hear its good for you. ;)

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